Like many penniless, voracious college students, instant ramen saw me through many late night study sessions back in the day. When the fridge was empty and the pantry otherwise bare, I could always count on a packet or two of freeze-dried noodles to see me through the lean times. They still hold a special place in my heart, the mere thought of those chewy wheat strands swimming in a salty sea of vegetable broth sends my head spinning with hunger, but I’d like to think that my palate has evolved quite a bit since then. Now my approach is a good deal spicier, fresher, and undoubtedly healthier.
No longer shackled to those quick-cooking fried noodle bricks, I’ve found that buckwheat soba noodles takes only a minute or two longer to reach al dente perfection while adding depth and a pleasant earthiness to the entire bowl. Kimchi is the star of the show here, so even if you don’t have all the vegetables suggested below, you can easily make up the difference by just piling on the peppery pickled cabbage instead. Read labels carefully to avoid fishy additions, or make your own if you have extra time to plan ahead. Recipe and photos from Instant Kimchi Noodle Soup are reprinted with permission from Real Food, Really Fast by Hannah Kaminsky © 2018. more→
Fattouche salad is a Middle Eastern classic that’s not as well known in western culture as is tabbouleh, though maybe it should be — it’s just as delicious. It gets its characteristic touch from the use of small bits of toasted pita bread mingling with juicy tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh herbs. It’s good all year round, though especially tasty with summer tomatoes more→
Cholent is a Jewish classic that can be considered an early predecessor to slow-cooker recipes. In its original form, it’s put in the oven before the Sabbath and cooked at a very low temperature for about 12 hours so that it can be eaten for the Sabbath midday or late afternoon meal. It’s one of the rare Eastern European Jewish specialties that highlights beans. There is a Sephardic cousin to this recipe called hamin. more→
This one-pot meal contains many of the plant-based world’s favorite foods: chickpeas, spinach, and yams. It is easy to prepare, cooks quickly, and tastes delicious. Adapted from The Healthiest Diet On the Planet: Why the Foods You Love—Pizza, Pancakes, Potatoes, Pasta and More—Are the Solution to Preventing Disease and Looking and Feeling your Best Copyright ©2016 by Dr. John McDougall & Mary McDougall. Published by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, reprinted by permission. Photo by Jennifer Davick Photography.
Polenta is the Italian name for a basic cornmeal mush that can be served on its own or with a variety of toppings (see variations after recipe box). It’s a comforting, naturally gluten-free grain dish that kids and picky eaters will love! When mine were growing up, they loved this with a side of steamed broccoli, and a platter of raw veggies with a dip. Thanks to Colavita for supplying the Instant Polenta used in this recipe, which not only cooks up super-fast, but is extra smooth. Photos by Evan Atlas. more→
This is a perfect winter dish. You’ll be wowed by the flavor of this fusion-style dish, where winter squash pairs very well with Thai curry. The mushrooms add earthiness and a lot of texture, while the broccoli (or greens) adds freshness. Excerpted from Vegan Under Pressure: Perfect Vegan Meals Made Quick and Easy in Your Pressure Cooker © 2016 by Jill Nussinow. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. Photo © Lauren Volo.
Cassoulet is a French comfort food — a rich, slow-cooked white bean stew originating from the south of France. I first came across cassoulet at the grocery store in St. Maarten (it was sitting among the canned beans), but it wasn’t until I was actually in France that I came to appreciate the cultural significance of this dish. Each region has its own variation that reflects local specialties and in that tradition, I’ve created a vegan version. Serve with a crusty whole-grain bread. Recipe and photo from Happy Herbivore Abroad by Lindsay S. Nixon ©2012, Ben Bella Books. Reprinted by permission.
If you want to impress someone with a dal, make it this one. Don’t be afraid of the number of spices—it is quite simple to make. The spices and garlic are blended to a paste and fried in the oil. A hot sauce (chiles, garlic, and vinegar) in the tadka is another secret to getting the right flavor profile. Serve this as a part of a meal, or with rice or naan or other flatbread. Recipe and photos from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen * © 2015 by Richa Hingle. Vegan Heritage Press, LLC. reprinted by permission.
- ¾ cup brown lentils, washed and drained
- 2 cups water
- 2 to 3 teaspoons safflower or other neutral oil
- ½ cup finely chopped red or white onion
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon fenugreek leaves or ⅛ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1½ tablespoons sriracha or other hot sauce, to taste
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1½ cups chopped tomato
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, for garnish
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter (optional)
- Combine the lentils with 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Partially cover and cook over medium heat until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
- While the lentils are cooking, make the tempering. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes.
- In a blender, combine the garlic, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, fenugreek, paprika, nutmeg, black pepper, sriracha, and 2 tablespoons of water. Blend to combine well.
- Add this paste to the onions in the skillet. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and salt, and cook until the tomatoes are tender, about 8 minutes. Mash the larger tomato pieces.
- Add the tempering to the lentils. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Taste and adjust salt and spice. Garnish with cilantro and vegan butter, if using, and serve hot.
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- Here are more recipes for using Lentils and Peas.
Mangoes are abundant in India, where they are always juicy and sweet. In the United States, mangoes can be a bit tart. For desserts or curries like this one, I prefer mango pulp or puree in canned or bottled form. You can use a ripe mango, if you prefer, but be sure to puree it well before using. This is a simple recipe but the resulting dish is very alluring with its sweet and spicy sauce. It can easily be made soy-free. Recipe and photos from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen * © 2015 by Richa Hingle. Vegan Heritage Press, LLC. reprinted by permission. more→
Here’s a classic whole wheat pita bread recipe that you will just love. They’re strong, flavorful, and dependable. Recipe adapted from Breadtime: A Down-to-Earth Cookbook for Bakers and Bread Lovers by Susan Jane Cheney, by permission of the author. more→
Although these crêpes don’t have quite the same texture or pronounced sourness typical of teff injera, they make a good stand-in on days when you want Ethiopian food quickly and don’t have time for the fermentation process or access to commercial injera. They have a slightly spongy-stretchy texture, with a small bit of tang from the yogurt and vinegar, and work well for scooping up sauces and stews. Recipe and photo from Teff Love: Adventures in Vegan Ethiopian Cooking by Kittee Berns © 2015, Book Publishing Company, reprinted by permission. For complete how-to on making authentic Ethiopian injera (the spongy moist flatbread shown in the photo, refer to the aforementioned book! more→
Pungent mustard greens are paired with mild spinach, and with the addition of mellow cauliflower, the result is a gorgeous and satisfying curried stew. Mustard greens, which are in fact a green often used in curries (as is spinach) most often come in really large bunches, so use as much as you’d like; the sharp flavor is well tamed by cooking. If you’re not a fan of mustard greens, or just want to use a more familiar type of leafy green veggie, see the variations following the instructions. Recipe from Wild About Greens. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky, from her original review of this this book. more→